Euro collapse and consequent European riots
As the Italian government struggles to borrow, and Spain considers seeking an international bail-out, British ministers privately warned that the break-up of the euro, once almost unthinkable, is now increasingly plausible.
The Treasury confirmed earlier this month that contingency planning for a collapse is now under way. A senior minister has revealed the extent of the UK Government’s concern, saying that Britain is now planning on the basis that a euro collapse is now just a matter of time.
Diplomats are preparing to help Britons abroad. Recent Foreign and Commonwealth Office instructions to embassies and consulates request contingency planning for extreme scenarios including rioting and social unrest.
Diplomats have also been told to prepare to help tens of thousands of British citizens in eurozone countries with the consequences of a financial collapse that would leave them unable to access bank accounts or even withdraw cash.
If eurozone governments defaulted on their debts, the European banks that hold many of their bonds would risk collapse. Some analysts say the shock waves of such an event would risk the collapse of the entire financial system, leaving banks unable to return money to retail depositors and destroying companies dependent on bank credit.
Some economists believe that at worst, the outright collapse of the euro could reduce GDP in its member-states by up to half and trigger mass unemployment.
[Read full Telegraph article]